Dead whale discovered washed up on beach in St Andrews

A marine pathologist was sent to examine the body of what is thought to be a minke whale.

Beached: Dead whale washed up in St Andrews.
Beached: Dead whale washed up in St Andrews.

A dead whale has been found washed up on a beach in St Andrews.

The animal, thought to be a minke whale, was found on the West Sands on Wednesday evening.

Julie Seymour found the whale while out walking and described it as being around seven metres-long.

She said: “It is dead already, sadly, perfectly intact appearance-wise apart from the seagulls pecking.

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“It is right at the end near the Eden. If you park at the very end and look towards the sea and left it appears white as you can see its underbelly. It’s massive so easy to spot.”

Ms Seymour reported the discovery and a pathologist for the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS) visited the site on Thursday to carry out a post-mortem on the mammal.

Dr Andrew Brownlow, SMASS pathologist, believes the whale may have become entangled shortly before its death.

He said: “We have a good idea of what happened to this animal. It looks like it was entangled quite recently. That’s probably the reason why it’s died.

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“There seems to be some cuts along the tail stock that would be consistent with it being cut in some form of fishing rope.

“The most common cause in other species is creel fishing. Often the rope that goes from the creel trap to the surface buoy leaves a loop in the water and it seems that animals become entangled in the rope.

“Sadly it is becoming more common and currently more reports have been coming into the SMASS of whales that have become entangled and that’s why we are very specifically interested in looking at this whale.

“If we can understand a little bit more about how it has become entangled then we can hopefully try and prevent that from happening in the future.”

The SMASS collates all data from stranded marine animals around Scotland and asks members of the public to report any dead stranded whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, basking sharks or marine turtles.


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